Neuberberg Holocaust Education Week
"On the Edge of the Volcano: Yiddish Literature in Berlin before the Third Reich"
Online lecture, Sunday, 2:30pm EST, November 1, 2020
Sponsored by UJA Committee for Yiddish and The Toronto Workmen's Circle
When Hitler took power in Germany in 1933, he vilified the capital, Berlin, as a haven for "rootless cosmopolitans," meaning immigrants, communists, and Jews. Berlin was loathed by the Nazis for the very same reasons that it attracted Jewish newcomers, including some of the most prominent Yiddish writers of the day. For a brief yet vibrant period between the World Wars, Yiddish writers from all over Eastern Europe flocked to Berlin and transformed it into a major hub of Yiddish culture and the second largest centre of Yiddish publishing worldwide. This talk explores the rich Yiddish literary culture that flourished in exile in interwar Berlin, the conditions of its rise, and the events that led to its demise on the eve of the Third Reich.
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Limmud Toronto 2018
"Yallah Deutschland! Israelis in Berlin"
Sunday, 5:30pm, October 28, 2018, University of Toronto Law School
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"A Ghostly Revival: Postwar Yiddish Literature in North America"
April 2016, The Prosserman JCC, Toronto
“Yiddish has not yet said its last word.” Isaac Bashevis Singer made a strong endorsement for Yiddish as a living language in his 1978 Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Yet, by the time Singer received this great honour, his mame-loshn was certainly in decline. This series of lectures explores the fate of Yiddish in two major sites of Jewish immigration: New York and Montreal. How did Yiddish culture thrive in these two cities, why did it decline, and does it live on today?
Lecture 1, Wednesday, April 6, 1-3pm:
"Conjuring Demons: Yiddish Storytelling in Postwar New York"
Lecture 2, Wednesday, April 16, 1-3pm:
"The Third Solitude: Yiddish in Postwar Montreal"
Lecture 3, Wednesday, April 20, 1-3pm:
"Traces of Yiddish in Contemporary Jewish-American Culture"
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"Jewish Literature Beyond Borders"
October 18, 2012, University of Toronto
In 1918, the literary critic Baal Makhshoves wrote that Yiddish and Hebrew represented “two languages – one literature.” During his time, the bilingual roots of Hebrew and Yiddish burgeoned into a rich literary culture that transcended territorial boundaries. But these languages soon parted ways: Hebrew became the language of the Jewish State, while Yiddish remained the language of the Diaspora. In today’s increasingly mobile, multicultural and multilingual world, it is clear that culture can no longer be defined solely in terms of geopolitical location, language or ethnicity. The transnational turn raises new questions and possibilities for the study of Jewish literature. Is it time to reclaim and redefine Jewish multilingualism? How might we remap Jewish literary space to surpass conventional linguistic and national borders? Can this expanded geography be compared with other diasporic literary cultures? What does the study of Jewish literature beyond borders reveal about our own globalized world?
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Click here to read an article about the event in The Canadian Jewish News